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The Great Con: Has Political Correctness Marginalized the Working Class?

1-politically-correct
Charles Hugh Smith
Of Two Minds

So when the protected class of well-paid institutional “progressives” speak darkly of “reversing 40 years of social progress,” what they’re really saying is we’re terrified that the bottom 95% might be waking up to our Great Con of identity politics and political correctness.

To understand the Great Con of political correctness, we must first grasp the decline of the working class (self-described as “the middle class”), i.e. those who must sell their labor to earn their livelihood.

Labor’s share of the national economy has been declining for 46 years:

1-wages-gdp5-16a

So where has the wealth that’s been generated ended up? In the hands of the .1%:

1-wealth-distribution10-15

And where did the wages gains end up? In the top 5% technocrat/ managerial class:

1-wages-gdp5-16a

And what is the technocrat/ managerial class response to this staggering decline in wealth and wages suffered by the bottom 95%? Political correctness.

Let’s look at political correctness and identity politics through the lens of class warfare and class consciousnessThose enjoying enormous gains in wealth and income have a problem: they must fragment and distract the bottom 95% who have lost income and wealth to the top 5%, lest the bottom 95% realize:

1. We have lost the undeclared economic war

2. We have more in common economically with others in the bottom 95% than we do with our neofeudal technocrat/ managerial overlords.

This unifying class consciousness would threaten the wealth, power and perquisites of the neofeudal technocrat/ managerial class, so they had to undermine an economic awareness of class.

They found the perfect weapon in identity politics and political correctness. What better way to fragment the working class than to carve it into cultural subclasses that could be manipulated into declaring war on each other?

What better way to mask the collapse of working class political agency than to distract the bottom 95% with fake-Progressive double-speak about “empowerment,” “safe spaces” and “micro-aggression”?

The heart of the Great Con of identity politics and political correctness is a tragic irony: the more wealth, income and power that slip through the fingers of the bottom 95%, the more their overlords rely on social “empowerment,” as if a “safe space” on campus is a substitute for real political and economic agency.

That’s the Great Con of political correctness: using worthless speech acts about empowerment to distract the working class from its disempowerment in the real world. No amount of “safe space” and happy talk about empowerment can replace meaningful opportunities for economic security and advancement–precisely what is abundant for the protected technocrat/ managerial class and scarce for the unprotected 95% that’s been sold down the river.

The propaganda beauty of class-consciousness-destroying political correctness is its deceptive claim of “progressive.” If you set out to design the perfect tool to enforced neofeudalism (the political and economic dominance of the protected few at the expense of the exploited many), you’d choose an Orwellian fake-Progressive agenda of cultural fragmentation and conflict that undermines any class consciousness of shared economic disempowerment.

This is why the protected technocrat/ managerial class is freaking out about Trump’s victory: the inchoate sense that the few have profited at the expense of the many is an expression of an emergent class consciousness that has the potential to threaten the neofeudal dominance of the New Nobility and its self-serving technocrat/ managerial class.

So when the protected class of well-paid institutional “progressives” speak darkly of “reversing 40 years of social progress,” what they’re really saying is we’re terrified that the bottom 95% might be waking up to our Great Con of identity politics and political correctness.

Check out Charles Hugh Smith’s new book is #8 on Kindle short reads under politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition) For more, please visit the book’s website.

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